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by Saurabh 23 Jul 2007, 21:56
Adjectives spice up our speech and enhance our writing. They help us describe the people, places and things around us. Unfortunately, adjectives in English can be quite a challenge. They are full of exceptions and confusion, especially for those not familiar with the language.

Thankfully, 26-year-old Praveen Madhukar Naik from Bangalore, sent us a lengthy list explaining their proper use. He writes:

Every adjective can be written in an absolute (small), comparative (smaller) and superlative form (smallest).

There are four ways in which the comparative form can be used:

1. In some cases, 'more' and 'most' is added before the adjective, for comparative and superlative respectively.

Take a look at the following sentences, where the wrong comparative form of the adjective has been used:

~ This flower is beautifuler than that flower.
~ The tiger is the beautifulest animal in the world!

~ In the future, be honester.
~ My mother is the honestest lady I know.

Instead, use:

Correct : This flower is more beautiful than that flower.

Correct : The tiger is the most beautiful animal in the world!

Correct : In the future, be more honest.

Correct : My mother is the most honest lady I know.

2. In other adjectives, just add 'er' for comparative and 'est' for superlative.

Wrong : He runs more fast than you.

Wrong : He is the most fast boy in my class!

Wrong : Have you ever received a more warm reception?

Wrong : This is the most warm I've ever felt!

Try this:

Correct : He runs faster than you.
Correct : He is the fastest boy in my class!

Correct : Have you ever received a warmer reception?
Correct : This is the warmest I've ever felt!

3. With some adjectives, as in the case of good and bad for example, the whole word changes.

Wrong : She is a gooder student than me.

Wrong : She is the goodest cook in Mumbai.

Wrong : He is a badder chess player than you.

Wrong : He is the baddest author on the planet!

This should be:

Correct : She is a better student than me.
Correct : She is the best cook in Mumbai!

Correct : He is a worse chess player than you.
Correct : He is the worst author on the planet!

4. In some cases, the adjective can be written in comparative and superlative form in more than one way.

Wrong : Be more gentle with the kitten.
Wrong : Your sister is the most gentle person I know!

Wrong : We were more quiet than mice.

Wrong : Is this the most quiet you've ever been?

This is also correct:

Correct : Be gentler with the kitten!

Correct : Your sister is the gentlest person I know!
Correct : We were quieter than mice.

Correct : Is this the quietest you've ever been?

R S Swaminathan from Mumbai shows what happens when we misplace adjectives. The 50-year-old was attending a function and the speaker presented an award to someone. He said, 'As a token of our small appreciation, we present...'

Obviously, Correct : he meant to say, 'As a small token of our appreciation, we present..'

As you can see, adjectives have many rules and exceptions in the English language. Don't despair; with practice and constant usage, you'll soon be a master.

And if you make the occasional mistake, don't worry!

Even native English speakers sometimes slip when dealing with these pesky adjectives.